Before Brentford – Manchester City: Raheem Sterling, the glutton is not satisfied

He is the man in form for Manchester City, two months after being an undesirable one. If this start of the 2021-2022 season were to be a song, it would be a refrain that Raheem Sterling knows all too well. The English striker is in full swing at the best time, Boxing Day and his dantesque chain of meetings. Not long ago, Sterling seemed however clearly pushed towards the exit, between lack of playing time and contractual situation source of the tensions with its leaders. Not enough to destabilize the former Liverpool player, who has always been used to reversing situations and opinions. His sparkling form even makes him one of Pep Guardiola’s base men again, before moving to Brentford on Wednesday.

A few months earlier, football had to come home for the Euro, but Raheem Sterling was not a prophet in his country. England, among the favorites of the European Championship, had eyes only for his goal machine Harry Kane, his young shoots Phil Foden and Bukayo Saka, or his new darling Jack Graelish. This same Graelish also waved the transfer pages of the tabloids, he who was insistently announced to join Manchester City, for a record amount for a British player. Meanwhile, in the shadows, Sterling was charcoal. Better, while Kane crossed the first phase like a shadow, his lane friend – author of three goals in the first four games of the Three Lions – carried his own.

Raheem sterling

Credit: Getty Images


Even in the red, Barça offers Ferran Torres


The tension, then the liberation

What to rehabilitate him somewhat in public opinion, and in the press across the Channel. But not necessarily at Manchester City. After a less conclusive exercise (14 goals and 12 assists in 49 matches in all competitions after three exercises with 23 goals minimum), the die seemed to be cast. With Graelish arriving at the same post, to the left of the attack, Sterling should be content to share the minutes. The former Liverpool player has only started three of the Premier League’s first eleven matches, to the point where his frustration is clearly expressed.

« As an English player all I know is the Premier League and I always thought that one day I would like to play abroad and take on this challenge., he had blurted out to the Financial Times on October 14th. I should actually learn a few different languages, I like the French and Spanish accent. If there was an opportunity to go elsewhere, I would be open to it at this point in my career.“This barely disguised spike had agitated Catalonia and FC Barcelona, ​​fond of the player for some time now.Some players complain when they want to play all the time, but I can’t guarantee how many minutes each player will play« replied Pep Guardiola.

Cancelo, the best « full-back – defensive midfielder – playmaker – left winger » in the world

Angry, the Catalan technician had sent his former star to make an even more pronounced turn on the bench. A punishment, a little, but also a way to pique Sterling’s pride, above all. A superb first goal against Everton on November 21 to start, then another against PSG in the Champions League, and a series that does not stop. Jack Graelish disappears from the rotation, when the one everyone sees leaving takes on the light again. Sometimes criticized for his game, other times for his personality – and often quite unfairly – Raheem Sterling responded in the best possible way: stacking goals. To the point of becoming indispensable, and of pushing Guardiola to make him also evolve on the right to always have him on the meadow.
Another consequence of this spectacular rebound, there was movement on the wings of City. But it was Ferran Torres who was released, recruited by FC Barcelona on Tuesday barely a year and a half after his arrival.

Goals and voice

It is anything but a coincidence that Manchester City have a series of victories, nine before the trip to Brentford. In the last seven meetings he has played in the Premier League, the number 7 from Le Mans has been decisive… seven times. The former Scouser took the opportunity to score his 100th Premier League goal on December 11 against Wolverhampton. Sterling even pushed this magnificent upturn by scoring in his last four matches, including a double in the box against Leicester (6-3) on Sunday. Here he is at seven units, as much as Bernardo Silva as Skyblues’ top scorer, Sadio Mané or Cristiano Ronaldo. « I’m just happy to be on this team, to keep helping it, fighting, smiling and loving my football« he was able to savor last Sunday.

Whoever was shortlisted among six finalists for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year might take the end of the tunnel as a sign of his once again established place. But he saw others, in club as in selection, not to be satisfied with this prosperous period. Evidenced by his very measured joy, despite the offensive orgy against the Foxes. « It was a game we should have folded. It was a good first 45 minutes (Editor’s note: City led 4-0 at rest), but these are the kinds of matches we need to complete. This is the challenge.“One more for Raheem Sterling. And he’s not in the habit of running away from them, in Catalonia, or anywhere else.

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